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You’ve found an awesome home that seems just perfect for you. You’ve toured the space, talked to the agent and crunched the numbers. You’re ready to make an offer. Or are you? Beneath that stylish staging and manicured lawn, there might be some red flags lurking in the shadows. Here’s what might deter you from making an offer:

An Outdated Heating System
Furnaces, hot water tanks and heat pumps last about 15 – 20 years, depending on their construction and how well they’ve been maintained. Make sure you check the unit’s serial number and check for moisture or cracks around the unit to give you an idea of how old it might be. Closing on a home and then having to replace an entire heating system would be an unpleasant surprise.

A Flood Risk
Waterfront homes sound great in theory, but sometimes, they come with an added risk of flooding. In Canada, your municipality can likely tell you if your dream home is located in or near a flood plain. Even if your new place is located in an area that’s high and dry, make sure drainage pipes are installed in a way that re-routes excess water away from the building.

Stains or Dampness
If your new house smells funny or has obvious water stains, you might be inheriting a whole lot of problems. Commonly found around baseboards or on ceilings, stains and/or dampness can indicate flooding, roofing or mildew issues. If you’re up for a reno, this may not be a deal breaker, but you definitely want this confirmed before you make an offer.

Be on the lookout for stains, dampness, major equipment that might need replacement or environmental issues before making an offer. This could save you a lot of headache down the road.